A native of Tiffin, Ohio, Dave Zoller began piano studies at
age six, but didnt become really interested in music
until I was 13; when I heard a Dave Brubeck record,
that was it ! I
became a big music nut and went back to the piano, trying
to teach myself to play some of the things I had been listening
to. By the time I was 17, I was into Miles, Coltrane, Monk,
Mingus, Ray Charles, Horace Silver & Bill Evans; I knew
music was where I wanted to spend my life.
After graduating from high school, he attended SMU in Dallas
briefly; while there he played his first professional gigs
on piano and began composing and arranging music. A three-year
Army hitch followed, afterward he returned to Dallas, playing
at two well-known nightspots: The Fink Mink and Gringos.
He also sold his first arrangements. In early 1965 Dave re-located
to Kansas City to attend the UMKC Conservatory Of Music.
While in Kansas City Dave Zoller bacame active on the local
scene both as a player and writer. He worked with such top
K.C. instrumentalists as Arch Martin, Gary Sivels & Tommy
Ruskin, played and wrote for the orchestras of Warren Durrett
and Jimmy Tucker, and also wrote for singers Marilyn Maye
and Marian Love and the K.C. Kix Band. He appeared several
times on the annual Kansas City Jazz Festival and toured the
Midwest and Southwest with his own quartet. At the urging
of friends in Dallas, however, he returned to that city in
the Spring of 1969 and has been based there ever since.
In Dallas, Dave led his own groups and worked as a sideman
with numerous other bands, including Jerry Gray and Don Jacoby.
He has backed such top acts as Kay Starr, Gloria Loring, the
Mills Brothers, George Kirby and the Smothers Brothers. He
bacame active as a player, writer & contractor in Dallas
thriving jingle business and wrote music tracks for such Dallas
jingle houses as PAMS, Pepper & Tanner, TM Productions,
JAM, Toby Arnold & Associates and others. He was a full-time
music director for Ralph Stachon & Associates in the mid
70s and his reputation as a writer and arranger brought
him work from producers outside the Dallas area, including
ASA Productions (Indianapolis) and Kevin Gavin Productions
in NYC (Gavin once employed Barry Manilow!). To date Dave
Zoller has written over 1600 music tracks for radio &
TV and his charts for Wal-Mart, Wet Ones, Jordache Jeans,
Texaco, Crest Toothpaste, Mayflower, Century 21, GMC Trucks,
Kodak Papers and others have aired nationally.
In 1985 he became tour pianist and music director for Al Hirt,
the Grammy Award-winning jazz & pop trumpet star. He appeared
with Hirt at such fabled venues as the Hollywood Bowl, Wolf
Trap, Westbury (L.I.) Music Fair, the Stratford Festival Theatre
(Ontario, Canada), the Paul Masson Jazz Festival (Saratoga,
CA.) and the Jacksonville Jazz Festival. He also taped several
PBS shows with Hirt and cut two CDs with him for ProJazz.
Working with Jumbo did a lot for my confidence as a
player and ultimately led me back to acoustic jazz, my first
Currently Dave Zoller is busy in Dallas, co-leading a quartet
with his wife, vocalist Genie Grant, free-lancing as a pianist
and arranger-composer and producing CDs for dpz JAZZ,
a label he founded in 1993 with Dr. Ambrose G. Hampton, Jr.
To date, the label has released six CDs; four by Dave Zoller
and two by Genie Grant. He also publishes original jazz orchestra
and combo music through his firm, DPZ Music Production, Inc.
His music has been heard and played worldwide.
St. Louis native Genie Grant is a popular and well-known vocalist
in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area with a huge repertoire of classic
jazz & standard songs, both familiar and obscure. She
and her trio have been featured regularly in recent years
at legendary Dallas jazz venues such as Maxine Kents,
6051 Club, Strictlly Tabu, Terillis and The Ocean Grill.
Genie and her husband, pianist-arranger-composer Dave Zoller
and their group have performed at Sambuca Jazz Cafes
for nearly five years. They appear regularly on Sunday nights
at Sambuca Deep Ellum and have also appeared at
Ms. Grant has played the last 22 seasons with Sazarac Jazz
at the State Fair Of Texas and performs with her own group
and with the Dave Zoller Sextet at Ft. Worths Main Street
Festival and the Denton Arts Fest. She is a regularly featured
artist on the Jazz Concert Series at the Sammons Center For
The Performing Arts and at the Dallas Museum Of Arts
Summer Concerts Under The Stars and Summer Jazz Series. She
has recently toured other U.S. cities as well, with appearances
at the Sambuca Jazz Cafes in Atlanta and Houston and
the Lavecchias in Columbia, SC and Charlotte,
Grant and Zoller have toured together with the late, legendary
Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Al Hirt , performing at the
Jacksonville Jazz Festival in Florida along with George Benson
and Dizzy Gillespie. Grant was featured vocalist in shows
with Hirt and clarinetist-bandleader Pete Fountain and in
concert with various symphonies in the U.S. Shes also
done recording , jingle work, live TV and movie soundtracks,
including the made-for-TV movie Lucy & Desi - Before
the Laughter. Shes opened for many headline acts,
among them Bob Hope, Diahann Carroll, Robert Guilliaume, Lynda
Carter & Marilyn McCoo. She was also featured vocalist
special performances for President Jimmy Carter and the 75th
Birthday Celebration for Lady Bird Johnson.
Genie Grant has recently completed a second CD for dpz
JAZZ, Travlin Light. Her first
CD, Blame It On My Youth was named among the Top
Five CDs of the year by The Met and also received favorable
reviews in Cadence, JAM, and other publications, i.e.
sultry Ella-ish inflections, reminiscent
of horn-like Helen Merrill, a touch of Peggy Lee
and Anita ODay and the unadorned innocence
of Grants voice combined with sublime arrangements by
pianist Dave Zoller create a sound that is both direct and
unpredictable. Of her performance at the DMA Summer
Jazz Series with the Dave Zoller Sextet, Jonathan Eig wrote
in the Dallas Morning News: Ms. Grant just might
be the best jazz balladeer in town.